Travel with a wedding dress: exploring the experiences of Chinese couples travelling to Australia and New Zealand for bridal photographs
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Bridal photography tourism is a unique practice in Taiwan and mainland China - it is an emerging form of personalised and Special Interest Tourism (SIT) with the goal of shooting bridal portraits and enjoying honeymoon simultaneously in the same trip. It is usually done ahead of the wedding, although sometimes it can also take place when the couple has "just married". Bridal photography tourism can also be combined with destination wedding, bridal photo-shooting, and even the honeymoon itself, which directly replaces the custom of having a traditional wedding. The aim of this study is to gain an understanding of the experiences of Chinese couples travelling to Australia and New Zealand for bridal photographs, through discovering and exploring their travel blogs and online forum posts. This research adopts an interpretive approach, using qualitative internet research and unobtrusive data collection methods to obtain 20 relevant blogs and online forum posts, 10 for each destination. The selected data analysis methods include narrative inquiry involving the approach of thematic analysis for examining the data. Main themes and concepts were revealed in the analysis process of two destinations (Australia and New Zealand), including motivations for bridal photography tourism, and the methods of photographing bridal portraits. The findings draw out key meanings of the couples' experiences of bridal photography tourism, such as capturing fun and happiness in their relationship, capturing and reminiscing romance, exotic dreams and being there, and nature and naturalism, with a focus on highlighting the concepts of framing the bride's beauty and the 'bridal gaze'. These outcomes lead to a deeper overall understanding of bridal photography tourism, and help to gain knowledge of this emerging form of tourism by examining their experiences.